March 20, 2009
ARLINGTON, Texas - Andy Sauter pitched a three-hit, complete-game shutout to lift UT Arlington to a 5-0 Southland Conference victory over Northwestern State on Friday night at Clay Gould Ballpark in Arlington. The Mavericks also used 12 base hits, including at least one hit from eight starters, to win their fourth game in a row.
UT Arlington (10-10, 3-4 SLC) was led offensively by right fielder Matt Otteman, who hit his third home run of the season, went 3-for-4 and improved his career-high hit streak to 20 games. Otteman tallied a bunt base hit in the third inning, an infield single in the fifth and a solo home run in the seventh inning, giving the Mavericks their final run of the game. He is now batting .470 with a 25 RBI.
"Again, on the mound, Andy did a great job," head coach Darin Thomas said. "And we found a way to score on Friday night, which is always difficult. Heard has been really good this season and he has been tough on us in the past. Facing him was a tough draw for us, I'm just proud of the way our hitters battled him."
Northwestern State starting pitcher Jimmy Heard entered the game with a 3-0 record and 2.39 ERA while ranking among SLC leaders with 25 strikeouts. The Mavericks didn't waste time getting on the scoreboard with two runs in the first and a run in the second inning.
That would be all the run support Sauter would need as he pitched his first career complete-game shutout. Sauter's efforts included throwing only 98 pitches, scattering three base hits and striking out six batters with only one walk in the 1 hour and 55 minute game.
"Right off the bat I could tell I didn't have my best stuff, so I knew I couldn't blow it by them," Sauter said. "I just hit locations and spotted up really well and let my defense take care of it."
In fact, the Demons had only six base runners in the game, all of which never reached second base. Northwestern State had singles in the fifth, sixth and ninth innings.
"I really worked in with the fast ball," Sauter said. "I just tried to get ahead with off-speed and then come back and freeze them with the fastball."
Second baseman Jay Pitschka drove in Preston McCoy - who singled to lead-off the inning - with a single to center field giving the Mavs another run before third baseman Evan Raley tallied a two-out single to score UTA's fourth run of the game in the sixth inning.
"I thought Evan's two-out hit sealed the game," Thomas said. "That was a big two-out hit. He has been swinging the bat really well lately."
Raley finished the game going 2-for-3 and is now batting .667 (6-for-9) over the past two games. Choice posted his second straight multi-hit game going 2-for-4 to improve his batting average to .400 on the season.
UT Arlington will send senior right-handed pitcher Nathan Long (1-1) to the mound for game two of the series on Saturday to face Northwestern State right-hander Clayton Cooper. First pitch is scheduled for 2 p.m. at Clay Gould Ballpark.
UT Arlington improves to 36-38 all-time against Northwestern State, with a 16-18 record in Arlington... The win gives the Mavericks four straight victories, marking their longest win streak of the season... It is the second straight win for UTA against Northwestern State, after finishing last season's series with an 18-3 win in Natchitoches... The Demons had won four in a row before the Mavs' game-three win last season... Matt Otteman's hit streak improved to 20 games, placing him just six games away from tying the UTA all-time record (Clay Gould, 26-game hit streak in 1993)... Otteman's 3-for-4 performance gives him a team-high 14 multi-hit games this season, including a team-high five three-hit contests... The Mavericks posted 12 base hits, giving them their ninth double-figure base hit total this season... UTA was coming off a 20-hit game against No. 25 Minnesota on Wednesday, and is now batting .421 (32-for-76) over the past two games... It was the third time this season that UTA has posted at least nine hits against its opponents Friday-night starter... The Mavericks had nine hits against Sam Houston State and 12 hits against UTSA on Friday nights... The victory also puts UTA just three wins shy of winning its program's 1,100th all-time game... UTA is currently 1,097-1,058 in 41 seasons... UTA improves to 10-3 this season when holding its opponent to less than five runs... Andrew Kainer's 1-for-4 performance improved his current hit streak to eight games, ranking second this season behind Otteman's current 20-game streak... Sauter's complete-game shutout marked the second for the Mavericks this season... Nathan Long threw a complete-game shutout leading the Mavs to a 4-0 win on the road at UT Pan American earlier this season... Sauter's nine innings was a season high and matched his career-high that he set last season pitching nine innings on the road at UTSA (3/30/08)... Over his last two starts, Sauter is 2-0 with a 1.59 ERA, allowing 11 hits, three runs, three earned runs and four walks with 15 strikeouts in 17 innings of work.